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COURTS   OF   PARIS,    NAPLES,   ETC*               265

February znd.

Another Jamaica mail arrived this morning,
which left the island on the 2ist of December,
at which time no account had been received of
General Knox. They are very low at the Admiralty
concerning it. I have been all the morning in
the city, hunting for information; but there are
so many contradictory reports and conjectures
that I returned just as I went, except feeling my
spirits depressed by the fatigue.

I assure you I keep nothing from you, nor
palliate nor exaggerate; spero contra spem. I do
all I can to resist the weight of despondency, but,
indeed, I am cruelly alarmed, and prepare myself
for the worst. I cannot pretend to bid you keep
up your spirits, or hope or despond, for I know
not what to do or to say. My thoughts are on
the rack about your health, and the improbability
that your shattered nerves will be able to resist
such a blow as this may prove. Colonel Barry
sits all day over the fire crying, and is angry if
one suggests a hope. He quite kills me.

I had got so far when Mr. Higgins came in,
who declares upon his honour he would not buoy
me up with false hopes, but his opinion is not
the least altered by the arrival of this paclcet, nor